Four Seasons of Short Fiction

Ray Bradbury recommended writing a story a week for a year, saying that you can't write fifty-two bad stories in a row. More recently, the cartoonist Anthony Clark put out a series of "Bad Comics," small comic strips that weren't concerned one bit with quality, and turned out to be pretty funny. In 2018, I decided to take up Bradbury's challenge with Clark's sensibility, just putting the words on the page and letting the stories speak for themselves.

I burned out in six weeks.

But then I started it up again in July, loosening myself up a little, and modifying it into something closer to musician Jonathan Coulton's "Thing a Week" series. He put out fifty-two songs in one year. I figured if I couldn't write fifty-two stories, I could at least publish them.

So I did. With minimal revisions—mostly for clarity—I put a story on my blog every week, and didn't stop until I got through fifty-two.

The following links contain the stories I wrote and published in 2018 and 2019, in their current revisions as published on Amazon. Starting off, the stories alternate between those written in Winter and Summer 2018. From "With Sprinkles" onward, every story is printed in the order they were written, with only a few exceptions.

For most of the prompts, I used the website, which gives suggestions for improv comedians. I mixed and matched various settings, relationships, and keywords, and these stories are what resulted. Before this challenge, I never would have thought I'd write a story about a World War I trench or a lawsuit between a vampire and a werewolf. At some point I switched to a word-association method, which I also borrowed from Bradbury. It's the same method I use now.

The illustrations were all drawn in October 2019 as a personal Inktober challenge. They were drawn in Clip Studio Paint. This truly bore fruit, as it forced me to learn some aspects of art (especially linear perspective) that had frustrated me for years. I added these illustrations to the stories on my blog as I went along, and some have been modified a little for this collection. The illustration for "The LAN Party" is completely redrawn.

To read them, just click on any of the four headings below.

Also available in the following collections: